For all my beloved followers who have stuck by me through the “adoption” of my 14 little chicks way back in March of 2011, who watched me nurture them, watched them grow, loved them, and cried through their misfortunes, I have yet another tale to tell.
But first, for old times sake, remember them when they looked like this?
Now they’re just a lot of five little old hens. Yes, only five. The herd began at 14 and I’m sure there would be many more with me if I had cooped them, but I allowed them to free-range and wander the world as all chickens long to do. You must watch your tail feathers when you’re a free range chicken, as other things range freely as well. Like coyotes and wild cats. And of course there are the freak accidents as well, horse trough drownings and mysterious disappearances.
When we decided to move to New Mexico, I was going to leave the chickens in Texas. The new owners showed some interest in them and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to take them with me. The girls haven’t been laying eggs in quite some time now, probably due to the lack of daylight, and I’ve actually had to purchase eggs from the store for the first time in over a year. But once we got here and discovered we could actually have them, I borrowed a huge dog crate and loaded all five of them up and put them in the back of a Toyota pick-up and headed west. I looked a little “Jed Clampish” with a pickup bed full of chickens and two dogs, a front seat full of plants and a backseat of two girls.
Now is the time that you shouldn’t judge me, as the chickens lack a coop at this time. That first night I arrived, I had to make due by putting them under the back porch where they would be secure from any predators, minus the dogs of course since they have grown to love them as I do. This was to be a temporary situation, but life has a way of making easy things hard and we just haven’t had the time to put up a proper house for the girls yet.
The next day, I let them out to explore the back yard with the dogs and peck around. Then that night, as good chickens do, they cooped themselves back up under the porch, where they believe their home to be. The problem here is chickens like to roost at night, up high, and there isn’t a place to do that. The next night when I went to check on them, 4 of them were roosting together all snuggled up on the top of the borrowed dog crate, while the fifth one was sleeping on the dirt floor. Poor little chicken.
The following evening, I stepped out on the back deck to feed the dogs and heard the sweet sleeping noises of the chickens and found 4 of them all roosting together all snuggled up on a patio chair, while the fifth one was sleeping by herself on another patio chair.
My heart broke a little bit. It isn’t much colder here than it was in Texas, if at all really. But I couldn’t help but feel bad for the little chicken who is all alone without the warmth of her hen-mates keeping her warm. I contemplated fixing the problem, but really it’s just the way of the animal kingdom and I shouldn’t interfere and how could I fix it anyway.
But is it coincidental, that the little left out chicken just so happens to be a black chicken? The only black chicken left in the group? I have 2 yellows, and 2 black and whites, but only one black chicken remains and she is being ostracized. Can these chickens see in color? Do they realize she’s the lone one of her “kind”? Are they discriminating?
Or perhaps these “mean girls” are jealous because the black ones really are the best layers, when they are laying.
Or does this black chicken choose to be alone? Perhaps she wants to sleep by herself, heaven knows I would love a night of solitary sleep where I could spread out and toot if I want to.
So many questions remain unanswered.
The case of chicken discrimination remains open at this time. I will be investigating this further and will report any new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, rest assured that there will be no hazing or bullying of the black chicken under my watch.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
P.S. If you’d like to read some chicken archives, I highlighted some in orange in this post you can click on or you can always click on the words “Raising Chickens” in the topic list on the right side of the screen. They have been quite the adventure. Almost makes me want to get new ones. Almost.